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About jasonwclark

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  1. I'd be happy with encounters on travel. Part of me just wants to here then line, to scratch that itch. But I agree with others, that an improved encounter system would be preferable to a direct rehash of what we saw in BG. One possibility on travel would be an option to flee, and avoid the encounter altogether, perhaps with some alternative consequence. Like you end up somewhere unexpected, or someone falls and twists their ankle in the rush to escape (classic) so you wind up shaken. Or perhaps sometimes there is no option, in the traditional ambush. But an option to auto skip might be interesting for those who just can't stand this stuff. Or in that case, maybe they pepper the events with positive encounters too, so you never know if you're going to be facing foes or friends, until you actually check it out. I like all the ideas mentioned above, about more scripted events that go beyond just a pack of wolves or generic bandits, to include more interesting stuff. I think there are lot of places you could take it, with dialogue and puzzles, special serialized mini quests and the like. Something that turns the world map into an arena, one which makes travel more engaging and suspenseful than just watching a load screen and knowing where you'll end up.
  2. I miss this... Random combats to interrupt resting or world map travel. Not having any risks attached to camping in the middle of dungeons or out on the main road in full view of everyone, or when making a journey that takes days on end, was kind of a missed opportunity. I think the line could also have been used in a brothel somewhere. "You have been way laid by enemies and must defend yourself" Sure it's annoying when you need to catch 8 hours and didn't plan to get skull crushed by bandits, but that's kind of the point. In any case, it'd be simple enough to include an off toggle, for those who don't go in for this sort of thing.
  3. Its hard to argue against mod support. Most of the games I've enjoyed that had real staying power included some kind massive mod at one point or another, which gave the game a new lease on life. I think the challenge with a game like this is trying to figure out what that mod support looks like. NWN had a toolset and the whole back catalogue of D&D material to work with.. It had a DM client and was totally geared up for user customization and the multiplayer experience. What it lacked was full party control tactical combat built for the Iso view. The decision to go with henchmen and the driving camera in the original build, put certain limits on what you could do in terms of designing dungeon crawls, trying to work with a combat system like that. It was kind of stuck in this weird space between a small scale MMO with groups (replicating the table top experience), and a single player solo slog like the crpgs that came immediately before it, but it had an amazing toolset! Glorious customization when it came to the aesthetic dimension of the game, but invariably hit a wall in the crawl, because you couldn't really design IE style combat situations that scaled for the full party of 6. I've always enjoyed the single player experience hack and slash for this medium. A heavy emphasis of Role Play can be fun, but I don't want to join a theater group, I want to play an engaging sp game that sucks me in and allows me to avoid other people for a few hours haha. When playing with others, it usually devolves into metagaming anyway, rather than RP, so I prefer when its just built from the ground up with the focus on the single player primarily combat/puzzle driven. But what I like most is the God mode aspect, single player but controlling the whole group. There is something a little different there, than what you have in traditional table top D&D with actual other people in the room. The first crpgs that I can remember playing before Baldur's Gate crashed onto the scene and murdered all its predecessors, were games like Might and Magic III or Xeen, Pools of Radiance and the like on the B drive (when I was like 10), where you almost always had a full party (or at least that was the eventual goal.) Other games like Ultima Online or Everquest broke with that and made it more about soloing, but I never dug that as much. I think why I liked the infinity engine games so much is because they took that idea of turn based combat and puzzle play, with a collection of 6 or more characters that you're trying to develop, and just perfected it. Neverwinter, despite being brilliantly received and well modded, (a totally unique type of thing in its way), still played more to that solo character style of combat, than it did to the Infinity style of full party combat. I guess what I'm driving at is they should make like a hybrid of Icewind Dale and NWN, but set in this new Pillars of Eternity universe they're creating. Go heavy focus on character creation with lots more options to define the look of the avatar, custom portraits etc, and then a toolset for generating new modules under this kind of combat system. A map generator for the world map, an expansive tileset (for dungeons), a monstrous manual for the beasts and catalogs for the npcs, an ever growing spellbook that gets updated, an infinite bag of holding's worth of weapons, armor, artifacts and other curiosities to populate those levels. Doing all the same sort of things they've done here. With the arena/stronghold mode in there too (for good measure), so you could basically play it forever. I'm pretty sure all I want is the eternal promise of more Pillars of Eternity, which is probably easiest to imagine as a sequal that opens up major mod support. I don't know if they would go that route, but I'd be down. The only thing left to deliver on would probably be like mounts (from horses to drakes), and the ability to seamlessly zoom out from the isometric ground view to the wizard's eye level map view, and still be able to control movement on both, just by rolling out the mouse wheel to the map. That **** would be pretty cool, if they pulled it off.
  4. This game is home. The fact that it exists at all is a minor miracle. Obsidian did nearly everything right. I was skeptical that it would be able to hook me sans Faerun and the usual catalogue of D&D spells in the spellbook. But it worked. I love it! The music is a masterful rip off that includes nods to all my favorite fantasy scores. The art direction and gameplay is killer. I'm certain I'll be playing it to death for a while. I just hope the sequal stays true to this same style of gameplay. Isometric, with full party tactical combat 6 deep. That's the bedrock. There are plenty of other crpgs that have done the driving camera thing, and while some are pretty spectacular, they can't deliver that old school infinity feel. I don't mind cliche or allusions to what's come before as long as it's done well.
  5. I'm a huge fan or 2d portraiture. It was one of my favorite features in Baldur's Gate, and I had a pretty large collection of portrait images for Neverwinter. It was called Jah-Din's Ultimate Portrait pack, where I took details from my favorite fantasy paintings, stuff by friends and art heroes, resized endlessly so I could have enough to satisfy. I remember participating in the 2d vs 3d portrait debate for NWN2. While I agree that the custom option gives you endless possibilities, I also recognize that it takes a fair amount of effort, and can't really be shared under fair use for stuff like this. Short of hiring someone like Dave Rapoza to bang out a bunch of slick portraits for all the various race/class options, I think what Pillars Of Eternity really needs is more "silhouette" options, at least for the protaginist. BG had this, at least one for the male and female character. I think PoE needs at least a dozen of these. One for each racial type. Just put someone on the payroll to knock out some backlit or barlit portraits. Get a couple with hoods, a couple with generic helmets etc. It's better if you just omit details (so you can cover all the possibilities) instead of trying to have each possible variation painted out. Right now in the stock portraits, there are only like 4 that work as ideal generics. I'd try to triple that number and hire a decent painter to do the job so they look cool. A PS modified photograph is going to look like just that, unless you have someone on the team who has a real gift for it. There are a lot of digital painters out there who I'm sure could use the work. Kickstart something for the portrait arts division, and start casting a wide net for commissions. Even if Justin Sweet might have better things to do with his time these days, I guarantee you there are a lot of people who grew up on the old Black Isle portraits who would love a chance to get in on a project like this, as long as they were compensated for their time and their talent. A quality standard portrait pack for the next installment would really take it to the next level.
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